Can I do anything about her keeping my dad’s funeral money?

Q: My step-mom held a benefit and called it a “benefit for the family of Jack Allen”. She used her churches tax ID number for benefit donations. My dad did not have life insurance and was not able to save money. It was my understanding per her that the money was going to bury my dad’s ashes and the costs along with that. Now after the benefit and she has all the money she says she is not burying him. His ashes are still in an urn under her cellar steps. Instead she is keeping the money for her and my 24-year old meth addict brother. Is she breaking the law keeping the money? Can we make her spend the money on him? I do not care if some money is left and she keeps it. I want nothing to do with the money except for it to go towards my dad’s burial. (McKeesport, PA)

A: If the clear purpose of the event was to raise money to bury Jack Allen, and the money is not being used for that purpose, there is an appearance of fraud or misrepresentation. You might want to call the District Attorney in your County to see if they would want to be involved. You might also want to see a lawyer. If he did not have a will, you may have standing to petition the court to be executor and open an estate. If you were executor, you would have standing to petition the orphan’s court to be involved in seeing that the money is used for his burial.

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